Thoughts from 2020

It’s been a full year since I wrote this. It popped up on my Facebook memories. Future4fairgrounds wasn’t formed at the time and we had just received the devastating news that Nottingham Goose Fair was not going ahead. It’s now 2021 and we have had the same news about the historic Goose Fair this year too! I stand by every word and my thoughts remain the same I thought you might like to read it.

Have you seen your local fairground this year? If the answer is no then this is the reason. As an industry the travelling fairgrounds have been decimated by the impact of coronavirus. Many fairgrounds have been cancelled from small local fairs to major fairs that have held Royal Charters for 100’s of years. Nothing has stopped our industry like this before even in WW2 in the black outs showmen and women found a way to bring all the fun of the fair to their customers. The government have said our business could open from 4th July as long as covid secure measures were in place.

Being responsible and professional business people the Showmen have gone above and beyond to make sure that everything was in place so they could operate safely. As an outside venue fairgrounds are at even more of an advantage however even with all the measures in place local authorities have ultimately held the power and have denied the fairgrounds to open. As a result many showmen families are on their knees financially and mentally.

Families that have done what they do for many generations are now unable to operate and are struggling to support themselves. With little or no help from anyone including government support as so many have fallen through the gaps in the system. There doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of this very dark tunnel with so many of the autumn winter and early 2021 season also already cancelled or under review. Showmen contribute to society just like any other self employed business person. They want to work to support themselves and their families and are not being allowed to do so. Something needs to be done and it needs to be done now before the tradition and heritage that we are so proud of is lost for ever. If you do see a fairground open please support it. If you don’t see one ask your local council where it is. Many other similar sectors have been able to operate.

Maybe you’ve visited a theme park or a seaside venue. They will have had to have exactly the same measures in place to operate so what is the difference to a travelling fairground? Lots of other businesses are open without as many measures in place so what is the issue? Is it discrimination? I’m starting to question it myself and maybe you should too.

Colleen Roper

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